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Riot police not to be deployed to peaceful rallies

Posted November. 22, 2010 11:21,   


Police are revising a policy for managing public assemblies and demonstrations, including the deployment of different numbers of riot guards and equipment according to the degree of violence at public rallies.

The Dong-A Ilbo secured Sunday a plan on “a change of paradigm on management of public assemblies and demonstrations” prepared by the National Police Agency. The plan calls for police changing their principle of assembly management from “guarantee of legal activities and punishment for illegal actions without fail” to “promotion of legal activities and punishment for illegal actions without fail.”

Police will also classify public assemblies into the categories of "peace," "illegality" and "violence," and differentiate the size of mobile units and anti-demonstration equipment to be deployed.

The revised measure had been implemented on a trial basis since National Police Agency Commissioner Cho Hyun-oh was serving as chief of Seoul police.

In line with the revised policy, mobile police units will not be deployed to peaceful rallies and traffic police and intelligence officers will be assigned to supervise such assemblies on a voluntary basis under the host’s responsibility. The scale of mobile police units will be minimized for “non-violent illegal strikes” that could entail light illegal actions, including temporary occupation of streets.

Police will take legal action after an assembly against people committing illegal actions only by collecting evidence rather than seeking on-site arrests. Additionally, it will install manned and unmanned police lines at all assembly sites and guide protestors to hold legal rallies within the lines.

Mobile police units will be deployed upfront at illegal violent demonstrations, however, and demonstrators will be removed. People committing crimes at such rallies will be arrested.

Physical force corresponding to the degree of illegality committed by demonstrators will also be used. To this end, police will revise and improve standards on the use of physical force and manuals on equipment use.